Thursday, July 23, 2009

Test case filed against MACC over questioning of witnesses

KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman has initiated a court action against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and two others over whether witnesses could be questioned outside office hours.

In a test case filed yesterday, Tan Boon Wah, who is a Kajang municipal councillor, also named MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan and Selangor MACC assistant superintendent Mohammad Hassan Zulkifli as defendants.

He filed an originating summons at the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) through counsel Karpal Singh.

Tan, 39, is among three people who was summoned by MACC to assist into the investigations of alleged misuse of allocations by several state assemblymen.

He is also said to be the last person to have seen DAP political secretary Teoh Beng Hock alive at the MACC office.

In his summons, Tan is seeking a declaration that the MACC in investigating an offence could lawfully only record a statement from him as a witness during office hours.

Tan, who wants damages, interest and costs, is applying for a declaration that the defendants had acted in contravention of the MACC Act 2009 in relation to the questioning of witnesses.

Speaking to reporters, Tan said MACC officers had treated him unfairly when he was called up for questioning to assist in their investigations between 8pm on July 15 and 1.35pm the next day.

He was questioned over the supply of 1,005 Malaysian flags worth over RM2,000 to the Seri Kembangan assemblyman last August.

In his affidavit, Tan said he suffered loss and damages as he was confined against his will beyond the period allowed by the law.

Karpal Singh said it was a test case as on parameter within which MACC could question witnesses.

Karpal said Section 30(3)(a) of the MACC Act 2009 explains the provisions that a witness could be questioned from ‘day to day’.

“We are seeking an interpretation on this.

“We contend that ‘day to day’ means during office hours, which is from 8.30am to 5.30pm. We want an interpretation of what it means as it will affect investigation of other cases,” he said.

He said it is also a test case for all other laws relating to questioning of witnesses.

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